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Address:  Suite 5, 111 Hunter Street, Newcastle, NSW 2300
Hours: By appointment
Property Donor: GPT/Urban Growth Group
Launched: 7 January 2015
Closed: 19 February 2016

Christine Rockley
m: 0405 102 963
e: [email protected]

RENEW UPDATE: Christine is graduating to a commercial co-share space in Melbourne. The premise of the business is staying the same (Natural History) but will focus on displays and all the elements that go into them. She already have some collaborations on the boil – but all under wraps at the moment.

“Renew allowed me to finally have a studio on my own, away from home. I found it was great to be taken seriously by clients and allowed a professionalism that I couldn’t obtain working from a home environment. People seemed to respect my work time as it became similar to theirs.

I also enjoyed the networking and comradery between Renewers. We were all in the same boat and trying our hardest to succeed. It was and still is incredibly hard to be an entrepreneur and was great to be supported by the enthusiastic crew at Renew and other Renew businesses.” Christine

Who are you?
Chris Rockley, a natural history illustrator and designer. Observatorium allows me to introduce others to the natural world through illustration and design.

What do you do?
I draw natural subjects to describe them for science. More specifically native plants, insects and marine life. These are mostly commissioned or contracted pieces. But I also have a range that has been turned into cards, prints and other printed goodies for sale. Along with Observatorium, I coordinate “Lamp Post Markets” at Carrington, a monthly artisan market promoting Carrington based artists.

What inspired you to get involved in Renew Newcastle? 
I remember coming on the initial walk-around when Renew started and the energy being created was extremely positive and inspiring. Newcastle has a homing quality to me, I go away again and again but always come back inspired and ready to produce and give back to the place I call home. I’ve just spent one year in Melbourne and ready to implement some new ways of thinking and seeing here.

What are you doing in your new space?
Illustrating and designing using observation equipment like microscopes and video and teaching specialised drawing techniques. I’m currently working on plates for an up-and-coming book on Hunter endemic plants. Along with creating artwork for a number of upcoming exhibitions.

Tell us about the space – what was its previous use? Anything unique about it? Your response to the space? 
The old Sanatarium building has seen many artists come through as part of the Beehive project. Before I moved in, artist David Hampton had his studio here. I love the energy of the space. It flows right up through the windows and helps with the energy of the place. I asked for natural light and ended up with three great windows.